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PREMIER LEAGUE: Penalty controversy as Liverpool win at Sunderland

Liverpool made it five wins in seven visits to Sunderland with a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light helped by a controversial first half penalty. Sunderland have now not won in six league games whilst visitor's Liverpool boosted their hopes of European qualification for next season.

The game for the first half-hour was quite even with few chances for either team but the game turned on 33 minutes with a terrible decision from the officials handing Liverpool a penalty.

Sunderland defender John Mensah failed to control the ball allowing Jay Spearing a run on goal but the defender clearly brings him down outside the penalty area as TV replays showed.

The referee initially gave a free kick until advised by his linesman the offence was inside the area.

The Black Cats and their manager Steve Bruce were incensed but up stepped Dirk Kuyt to convert from 12 yards.

This decision seemed to affect the home side who for all their efforts in the second half failed to trouble the Reds rearguard and were eventually punished with 13 minutes remaining.

Keeper Simon Mignolet seemed to get his angles all wrong as Luis Suarez fired home from tight against the by-line.

Sunderland's miserable afternoon was complete when late on Mensah saw red after bringing down a goalbound Suarez.

Referee: Kevin Friend

Venue: Stadium of Light Attendance: 47,207

Sunderland scorers: Liverpool scorers: Kuyt pen 33, Suarez 77

SUNDERLAND 22 Mignolet 02 Bardsley 03 Richardson (Malbranque 22) 05 Mensah (yellow card, red card) 19 Bramble (yellow card) 29 Ferdinand 10 Henderson 11 Muntari (Cattermole 19 (yellow card) 28 Sessegnon 17 Welbeck (Elmohamady 60) 33 Gyan

Substitutes 01 Gordon, 15 Onuoha, 06 Cattermole, 07 Zenden, 08 Malbranque, 25 Colback, 27 Elmohamady

LIVERPOOL 25 Reina 02 G Johnson 05 Agger 23 Carragher 37 Skrtel 04 Meireles (Maxi 84) 21 Lucas (yellow card) 26 Spearing 07 Suarez (yellow card) (Cole 89) 09 Carroll (Ngog 72) 18 Kuyt

Substitutes 42 Gulacsi, 16 Kyrgiakos, 22 Wilson, 10 Cole, 17 Maxi, 28 Poulsen, 24 Ngog

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Dave Williams

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